On a daily basis, the federal government oversteps its authority – it’s domestic and foreign policies are almost entirely filled with activities that the founding fathers would’ve resisted to the death.But yet, we just sit and watch.

Matt K makes a good observation in his Esse Quam Videri blog:

First Amendment, Second Amendment, maybe even Fourth and Twenty-First Amendments, are all of the Bill of Rights that most people hear and care about. But does anybody remember the Tenth Amendment? It’s been basically a dead letter since Reconstruction, but it goes a little something like this:

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

One of the best (or worst) recent examples of a complete disregard for the 10th Amendment’s limitations on federal powers was from none other than “magic bullet” Arlen Specter.

For some time, he’s been wasting time, and your tax dollars investigating something that the feds have no authority over whatsoever -  professional football.

Recently, he made an announcement that he’d stop pushing for more hearings on this so-called “NFL spygate” case, which appeared to be good news.

But, as Daniel Matthews points out, the good news wasn’t good at all – instead, it turned out to be much worse

I was much more interested in something hidden in the bottom of the release…check it out here. He says that he is now going to look in to public financing of stadiums.

You read it right.  Instead of wasting money on investigating the pro football, he’s now going to take your money under the threat of imprisonment, and use it to build stadiums.

The outrage from Daniel Matthews is quite understandable:

Well, there is this little thing called the tenth amendment in the constitution.  It essentially says that any power not expressly given to the federal government should be retained by the states.  So, I re-read the Constitution…turns out that the power to control financing of stadiums isn’t in the Constitution.  Funny, I always thought it was.

Daniel, you’re absolutely right.  There’s not a word about football in the Constitution.

Or NFL, or stadiums, or sports.

Either Arlen hasn’t read the Constitution – or more likely – he’s hoping that most of us haven’t read it.

But, sadly, this is the way Washington works.  They count on the reality that people don’t know that the Constitution was written as a limit on federal power – not as a way to promote favored businesses.

Daniel explains this pretty well:

You see the Constitution wasn’t written by politicians to protect the government from people…It was written by level headed guys with names like Ben and Thomas, and a John or two.  They wrote it and offered it to the people for approval…It is the people’s document…not the government’s.  It was written to protect the people from the government.  It gives the people power…not Washington.

Ben, Thomas, and the Johns would be up in arms if they were alive these days.

Hope still shines, though.  It’s good to see that a few people like Daniel and Matt still understand the purpose of, and the need for, the 10th Amendment.

The 10th Amendment

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”



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The 10th Amendment

History, meaning, and purpose - the "Foundation of the Constitution."

10th Amendment



Get an overview of the principles, background, and application in history - and today.